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Impact of Sonoma Wine Pegged at $13.4 Billion

County vintners group releases findings of new economic report at annual meeting

by Andrew Adams
Source: Sonoma County Winegrowers / Sonoma County Vintners / Stonebridge Research Group
Santa Rosa, Calif.—The wine industry’s economic impact on Sonoma County has nearly doubled since 2005, growing to $13.4 billion.

That’s according to a report commissioned by the Sonoma County Winegrowers and Sonoma County Vintners. The groups shared some key figures prior to the Sonoma County Vintners’ annual meeting earlier today, though the full report won’t be released for a few weeks.

Wine-related tourism generated more than $1.25 billion in 2012, compared to $263 million in 2005—not surprising considering the county has been named the United States’ top destination for wine tourism, said Honore Comfort, executive director for the Sonoma County Vintners.

Other findings in the report by Napa, Calif.-based Stonebridge Research Group found that the industry directly and indirectly supports 54,297 full-time jobs that generate $3.2 billion in total wages. The industry also generates $1.4 billion in local, state and federal taxes as well.

Total retail sales of Sonoma County’s wineries are estimated to have surpassed $3 billion in 2012. The county is home to 755 wineries, according to Wines Vines Analytics.

The latest findings put the total value of the county’s grape crop at $582 million, which is an increase of 35% over the $431 million reported in the 2005 county crop report. The 2005 county crop report put the county’s total vineyard acreage at 57,050 acres, and the same report in 2012 recorded 58,349 bearing vineyard acres. Despite a relatively minor increase in acreage, the county still recorded a significant increase in crop value.

“Pretty impressive,” Comfort said of the findings, which she urged the crowd of vintners attending the meeting to share with the local community and elected officials.

Comfort said the industry’s economic value will help bolster the joint marketing approach the vintners and winegrowers groups have initiated to raise the profile of Sonoma County.

She described some of the marketing plans for 2014, which include tasting events in major domestic markets as well as trade and media tours in key Asian markets. In May, the county’s vintners will embark on an Asian tour that will stop in the Chinese cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guanngzhou before ending at VinExpo in Hong Kong. “China and Hong Kong continue to be on the lips of everyone in the wine industry in terms of growth,” she said.

The vintners group will take its “Sonoma in the City” program to San Diego and Los Angeles in Southern California this year as well as New York, N.Y.

To help member wineries with their direct-to-consumer sales, Comfort said the group would soon launch a web page that will help consumers find restaurants in their area that carry Sonoma County wines. “It will direct consumers to you and websites and your brands,” she said.

Comfort also announced that the co-chairs of the 2014 Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, the county’s signature charitable auction, will be Jose and Gloria Ferrer, owners of Gloria Ferrer Winery in Sonoma, Calif., and Tom Klein, owner of Rodney Strong Wine Estates in Healdsburg, Calif.

The Sonoma County Winegrowers will hold its annual Dollars & $ense tradeshow and seminar Jan. 15 at the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts.


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Wine Industry Metrics
Off-Premise Sales » Month   12 Months  
August 2015 $608 million
$8,178 million
August 2014 $568 million $7,729 million
Direct-to-Consumer Shipments » Month   12 Months  
August 2015 $80 million
$1,908 million
August 2014 $78 million $1,686 million
Winery Job Index » Month   12 Months  
August 2015 261
August 2014 218 224
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